Former governor joining EDS

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler was appointed today as the new president of EDS' state and local government unit and vice president of government solutions for North America.

In tapping Engler, a three-term governor with high-tech savvy and political connections, EDS is hoping to position itself as the premier solutions company for state and local services nationwide.

Engler "has run a quarter-billion-dollar business called the state of Michigan," said Al Edmonds, president of EDS' federal sector. "He took what I thought was the rust-belt state of Michigan [and turned it] into a high-tech state."

At a press conference in Detroit, EDS also announced that it is adding even more firepower to its state and local practice with the appointment of former Arkansas Medicaid Director Ray Hanley as vice president for EDS' state health and human services unit, reporting to Engler. Hanley has served as chairman of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors.

As the Republican governor of one of the biggest states in the country, Engler created the Department of Information Technology that developed online government services and the state's award-winning Web site. He centralized e-government initiatives and created the state's Web portal, Michigan.gov.

"Technology is a strategic investment for government today," Engler said. "It has the ability to lower costs in today's environment...and improve productivity, something we've seen first-hand in Michigan."

EDS has more than 13,000 employees in Michigan and is the state's largest high-tech employer. EDS administers and manages Medicaid systems for 17 states.

In a telephone interview with Federal Computer Week, which first reported his negotiations with EDS on Jan. 17, Engler said there is tremendous opportunity in state and local governments for EDS.

"I'm coming with EDS because I see tremendous opportunity for growth in the government sector for a company as strong as EDS is with technology," Engler said.

As for his own record as a Republican at a time when Democrats hold a majority of the gubernatorial seats in the nation, Engler said, "I have a good relationship with governors in both parties. Technology is nonpartisan."

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